Microsoft NZ CEO says three platforms will rule

Local developer says Apple ecosystem the most lucrative

Software developers will look to create applications across three mobile ecosystems – Microsoft, Apple and Google, says Microsoft NZ CEO Paul Muckleston.

“If you look across projections of what Google, Microsoft and Apple will be shipping in terms of smart devices, PCs plus slabs, plus phones, plus whatever else comes out in the meantime with a new category, the analysts think around 1.3 billion sockets per year are going out there, so developers will be able to build applications for them.

“That’s why I think that what [will happen] over time is that you will have your three ecosystems — Microsoft, Apple and Google — vertically integrated [with the] hardware, software, telco billing relationships, developer tools, app tools, all that sort of stuff,” he says.

“If you are a software developer you will probably be building for all three. You may pick one because it’s got higher representation in business or higher representation in consumer but if you have any scale as a software developer you will probably end up building for three of those ecosystem.”

However it appears Muckletson may have some convincing to do among local developers.

John Ballinger is an independent web developer with his own company BlueSpark. He is the convenor of the Auckland Web Meetup, which has an active mailing list of 828 developers and which notched up its 60th meeting recently.

Ballinger says he doesn’t know anyone who’s created an application for Windows Phone 7, and he struggled to think of anyone who had made money developing Android apps. There is money in iOS apps and he’s personally developed around half a dozen. He points out that Apple claims to have paid to developers around US $3 billion ($4 billion).

“The big thing with the iPhone is that people can also make a lot of money, if not more by giving away free apps and having advertising in these apps. So the total developers are making could be US$3 billion from Apple and anything from US$3 billion-plus from advertising.”

“If you look at all the internet traffic, [according to Apple] 61 percent of all mobile browsing is done on the iPhone/iPad which really points out that people who buy iPhones actually use them for apps and browsing. People who get Android devices use the device as a phone. They don’t get data plans, they don’t buy apps, they just wanted a phone and a camera for cheap,” he says.

Xero founder Rod Drury also rejected Muckleston’s suggestion that developers are likely to be working across the three ecosystems – Microsoft, Apple and Google. He says Xero is sticking with HTML5, and says that open source mobile development frameworks such as PhoneGap enable software developers working on “meaty” cloud applications to deliver applications to mobile devices.

Windows Phone 7

Meanwhile Muckleston says he wasn’t surprised by the relatively small uptake of Windows Phone 7 devices in New Zealand, since the mobile operating system was only released about a year ago.

“From a local perspective what we were trying to do with Windows Phone 7 was to demonstrate to a lot of the bloggers and tech journalists — all the people that have opinions about the devices — that we wanted to make sure that it is a really good device,” he says.

“Am I satisfied with four to five [percent market share]? No. The purpose was to rebuild the phone, do a good launch, get some good reviews, scale it up with Nokia and then get ready for the launch of Mango [Windows Phone 7.5 upgrade which is now available], next version of that phone.”

After the interview, Muckleston emailed Computerworld glowing reviews of Mango taken from tech sites around the world.

“The launch of Windows Phone 7.5 is gaining some pretty positive reviews and statements form a broad range of industry commentators, analysts and bloggers,” he says. “Now we’re seriously in the game with a very compelling user experience, an app store with 30,000-plus apps and a range of OEMs (Nokia, Samsung, HTC etc) – now ‘all’ we need is to crank up the volume to get the critical mass the platform needs to be considered a success. The Nokia partnership will make the biggest impact here, which should land in New Zealand in the first quarter of 2012.”

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Tags Microsoftpaul mucklestonrod druryJohn Ballinger

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